HERE ARE PITTSBURGH’S BEST BYOB RESTAURANTS (AND A FEW BOOZY BYOFOOD SPOTS)
I was talking to a friend recently about a favorite BYOB restaurant in town, and he said he couldn’t wait until they got a liquor license. I was shocked! It seems like the whole BYOB concept is pretty evenly divided, with some people loving the idea of bringing their own favorite wine (and saving a few bucks in the process), and the other half wishing that they could just order a damn cocktail with their meal.
If you’re like me and love a good BYOB, there’s no better time than the summer season to grab a bottle of Alsatian riesling and take a stroll over to your favorite outdoor patio. Here’s our list of the ultimate BYOB eateries in the city, plus a few breweries and wineries where you can do just the opposite.
This place always checks all of our dinner boxes. BYOB? Check. Cheap as can be? Check. Outdoor seating? Check. Indulgent, flavor-packed Thai food in gotta-bring-some-home portion sizes? Oh, yes. There is the whole issue of that no-phone, no-reservations thing, but with your own bottle of wine in hand, no one’s stopping you from uncorking it early to help pass the time a little faster.
Cafe 33. The Taiwanese bistro is as must-try on our list for its delicious (and occasionally adventurous) cuisine, but we also love that we can bring a bottle of rose or a six-pack of our own to join our multiple orders of dumplings on their front patio.
Piccolo Forno. Pittsburgh ain’t Europe, but it feels a little bit like it when you’re camped out at Lawrenceville’s OG date spot with a nice bottle of red. This is another place that doesn’t do reservations, but the wait gives you plenty of time to walk down to the Wine & Spirits store, or if you’re feeling especially celebratory, pregame your BYOB with a grappa cocktail next door at Grapperia.
Gaucho Parilla Argentina.
Okay, we’re sensing a pattern here — the trade-off for being able to bring your own bottle is definitely not being able to make a reservation. But when the food is as good as the perfectly grilled meats, wood fired veggies and savory empanadas at Gaucho, it’s well worth it. And don’t think for a minute we aren’t popping bottles in the notoriously long (but totally worth it) line here.
Millvale Food Truck Park. The city’s first food truck park is the perfect spot for groups who just can’t decide on where to eat, and while it isn’t your traditional BYOB, it does give you the option of picking up a growler of cider or a craft beer from one of the local breweries on tap.
Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. The Northside location is totally BYOB, and we definitely recommend enjoying your Thai food with a nice wine out on their gorgeous, plant-filled patio.
Choolaah Indian Barbecue.
Did you know that East Liberty’s fast-casual Indian spot is also BYOB? Pro tip: this is a great way to plan a cheap date night without seeming cheap at all.
Pusadee’s Garden. Arguably Pittsburgh’s most beautiful patio, Pusadee’s is also one of the city’s best spots for Thai food and BYOB goodness. While we’ve all been in mourning that the Upper Lawrenceville staple is closed for renovations, we’re happy to report that it will reopen in 2020 with some serious expansions.
The Vandal. RIP, BYOB at the Vandal — but we’re going to include this Lawrenceville all-day cafe anyway. While we loved popping over to the liquor store a block away to pick up a bottle before dinner, we’re going to love it even more when we get to order perfect wine pairings, beer and cocktails each time we visit now that the Vandal is full-service.
BONUS: Just about every brewery in the city allows you to bring along your own food, so pack up a picnic and set out to a place like Grist House, Arsenal Cider or Threadbare Cider. If you’re more of a wine guy/gal, most of the wineries just outside the city also make the perfect spot to camp out with a picnic on a lazy Sunday afternoon.